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Romeo and Juliet [VHS]
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Top Customer Reviews
A Midsummer Night's Dream (1935)
Cast includes James Cagney, Olivia de Havilland (in her screen debut), Joe E. Brown, and Mickey Rooney. The film was nominated for four Academy Awards, including Best Picture. It won for Best Cinematography and Best Film Editing.
DVD Special Features:
Commentary by film historian Scott MacQueen
Olivia de Havilland screen test
Vintage featurette "A Dream Comes True" (8 minutes)
Presenting... Gallery of 6 teaser trailers showcasing cast members
Warner Bros. Studio Café teaser trailer
Musical short "Shake Mr. Shakespeare"
Subtitles: English, French and Portuguese (feature film only)
Romeo and Juliet (1936)
This was actually an MGM production. George Cukor directs with Norma Shearer and Leslie Howard in the title roles. Nominated for four Academy Awards including Best Picture.
DVD Special Features:
Vintage short "Master Will Shakespeare"
Classic MGM cartoon "Little Cheeser"
Subtitles: English (feature film only)
Lawrence Olivier in the title role, Maggie Smith as Desdemona, Joyce Redman as Emilia, and Frank Finlay as Iago. All four performers were nominated for Academy Awards for their performances.Read more ›
Norma Shearer, despite being more than twice Juliet's age, plays her exquisitely...I find her to be the loveliest and most graceful of the screen Juliets I've seen.
Leslie Howard, who was 42 at the time, is splendid. With his perfect musical voice and enunciation, he's a joy to watch and listen to...what a pity that he didn't film more Shakespeare...a Howard "Hamlet" (which he had a huge success with on Broadway), would have certainly been a film treasure.
Also great is John Barrymore's flamboyant Mercutio, and Edna May Oliver is my all-time favorite Nurse.
Though I think the imaginitive and slightly bizarre Baz Luhmann/Leonardo DiCaprio version is fabulous and a must-see (as is the fight scene in the Zeffirelli production !) what makes this George Cukor version so special is the poetry of the language...if you want to hear the words spoken as I'm sure Shakespeare intended, give this film a try.
The notable exception to Thalberg's run of worthy Shearer failures was "Romeo and Juliet". Although it conformed to the norm by not making much money, it was a very fine film, far better than most filmed Shakespeare.
Norma was 36 when the movie was shot, and it was feared she was a bit old for the part. The problem was tackled by hiring an even older Romeo, 43-year-old Leslie Howard. The supporting cast was the best in the business- John Barrymore as Mercutio, Basil Rathbone as Tybalt, Edna May Oliver as the Nurse, Reginald Denny as Benvolio, and Violet Kemble-Cooper as Lady Capulet. George Cukor was tapped as director, and Agnes de Mille choreographed the period dance that is the highlight of the lovers' first meeting.
Production values were extraordinary, even for a Shearer movie. The creamily lit photography flattered the stars, and the props and sets were magnificent. The exterior set for the balcony scene took up all of M.G.M's Stage Sixteen, then the largest soundstage in the world; there was so much real vegetation that the building began producing its own weather. The costumes were a bit over-the-top; those for the supporting cast are highly theatrical, and the star wardrobe is intended to flatter at the expense of authenticity (Shearer's hairstyle is that of a boy of the period, not a young woman).Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I love this version even though Leslie Howard & Norma Shearer are really too old to play the leads, they are excellent in their parts, so you don't notice so much. Read morePublished 3 months ago by westiegirl
very handsome, ambitious and sincere production. this and warner's Midsummer Night's Dream were both so unlikely at a time when Hollywood considered the Bard too highbrow and the... Read morePublished 7 months ago by Jane H. Otoole
Beautifully mounted and with a rare chance to see John Barrymore in Shakespeare (he is wonderfully funny), this film looks better with age. Basil Rathbone makes a superb Tybalt!Published 9 months ago by B. G. Carroll
I'm not really a Shakespeare fan but I like the actors, who by the way did a great job with this. The 2 leads are of course not teenagers but they still pull off a good story. Read morePublished 11 months ago by Susan
I'm not a big fan of Shakespeare but this was very good. I used the subtitles and then compared the movie's dialog with that of the original script from a copy of the play I got... Read morePublished 12 months ago by Kenneth Drake
I'm surprised at how much I like this production: the actors are too old for their parts, and Shakespeare's anti-Catholic subtext is too plainly displayed. Read morePublished 13 months ago by T. Tinker
I am trying to think of something good to say about this -- some of the lines are correct.
I could not finish watching it. Read more
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